15-17 November 2016, Irvine (CA), United State

On 15-17 November 2016, the University of California at Irvine hosted the meeting between representatives of the ECOPOTENTIAL Project (Antonello Provenzale, Constantin Cazacu, Ghada El Serafy and Herman Hummel) and participants in the LIFE Network. LIFE (Linked Institutions for Future Earth) is an international network of institutions, researchers and experimental/field sites dedicated to advancing the quantitative understanding of earth surface processes and environment change. LIFE is sponsored by the Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) initiative of NSF, aiming to catalyze global research activities efficiently and economically, while mentoring and creating international research opportunities for junior researchers.

The meeting focused on two main questions, namely (1) What is the state-of-knowledge on protected areas and other ecological reserves? and (2) What are the opportunities for influencing management and policy of protected areas and other ecological reserves?

One of the goals of the meeting was to foster interactions between the network of Protected Areas participating in ECOPOTENTIAL and the system of Protected Areas and field sites of California. At the end of the meeting, two major challenges, to be explored together, were identified: (a) How can we build bottom-up application-oriented future projections based on the analysis of the possible critical climatic and land-use conditions for the ecosystems under consideration, and on the subsequent estimate of the probability of occurrence of such critical conditions in future scenarios, and (b) how can we upscale the information gained in individual sites to science questions and policy issues at regional scales?

After the meeting, interactions continued through email exchanges, web meetings and shared documents, and are planned to continue and be expanded in the coming months.